RPS #4 – Flirting with FIRE: The Idol of Financial Independence

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Ever dreamed of retiring early? How about retiring at 25 or 30? In this episode, we talk about a movement that is inspiring young people to be very productive now, so they can be far less productive later.

The financial independence, retire early movement, or FIRE for short, has continued to gain traction among millennials, including some believers. But how should Christians think about this? Is financial independence a worthy pursuit? And most importantly, what does the Bible have to say about it?

1:15 – Thank You

  • Thank you to everyone who has listened, left a kind note, or given a review!

1:37 – Defining FIRE

  • FIRE is an acronym which stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. Sometimes it’s just called FI and It goes by other names as well, but it’s a lifestyle movement that has popped-up among millennials with the goal of doing just that—achieving financial independence (i.e. no job) and retiring early (as in, REALLY early, like late 20’s early 30’s).
  • How it’s possible to save up enough money to retire young.
  • It’s self-imposed frugality for the sake of gaining freedom from working a job.
  • Related but not the same as the concept of generating “passive income” to achieve similar freedom.

6:05 – The Popularity of FIRE

  • Most popular among the millenial generation.
  • The /r/financialindependence subreddit has 628,000+ members.
  • People interested in FIRE are typically also interested in productivity.
  • Several major books have stoked this movement, Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin.
  • Millennials who lived through The Great Recession have a distrust in the market and in traditional career paths, thus have sought alternatives.
  • The internet has helped disseminate information about this alternative lifestyle, and social media culture has turned people who have done it into Instagram and YouTube celebrities.

9:49 – My Flirtations with FIRE

  • My wife and I stumbled into FIRE by accident while living in an RV for 4 years in Los Angeles.
  • We weren’t trying to become financially independent, but living this way meant we were saving most of our monthly income and we were technically doing all of the things required to become financially independent if we just kept going.

11:56 – Why We Didn’t Pursue FIRE, and What the Bible Says About It

  • Nothing wrong with not working a 9–5 job as long as providing for one’s own household and serving the Lord with their lives.
  • There are good aspects to the FIRE movement.

16:12 – What Would You Say to a Christian Pursuing FIRE?

  • What about someone seeking early retirement from the need to work for money so they can devote themselves to ministry?
  • The motive is the issue. Why are you really doing this?
  • Seeking financial independence may actually be a love of money issue.

19:11 – The Parable of the Rich Fool

  • Parable of the Rich Fool from Luke 12:13–21.
  • The Rich Fool was someone who was trying to become financially independent and retire early, and he is presented as a negative example. Why?

24:37 – The Danger of Covetousness

  • The Rich Fool’s sin was being rich toward himself and not toward God. Ultimately, it was an issue of covetousness, which is idolatry.
  • The sin of covetousness (Exodus 20:17).
  • Covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5–6; Ephesians 5:5).

28:33 – We Need to Have a Bigger Savings Goal

  • We need to have heaven as our goal, not the goal of creating a temporary heaven on earth for ourselves.
  • Our lives are a stewardship. We must be rich toward God with all of it: time, money, effort, everything.
  • If you pursue financial independence for ministry purposes, be careful that you don’t become deceived by the lies of money.


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